Report claims slavery still on in Mauritania despite official abolishment

According to a report by Africanews Mauritania Moulaye Najim slavery is still in full effect in Mauritania after the West African state announced it’s abolition back in 1981. However the trade wasn’t made illegal up until 2007.

Since then, there have only been just four prosecutions of slave-owners in its history, with dozens of cases currently in courts.

According to Najim’s report slavery is occurring within the Soninke community in the Senegal River Valley region about 500 kilometers from the capital Nouakchott.

According to Human Rights Watch, Mauritanian authorities restricted freedom of expression and assembly, especially when independent activists protested racism and ethnic discrimination, the persistence of slavery, and other sensitive issues. They imprisoned activists on dubious charges and refused to free blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir after he had completed his term for blasphemy. Opposition Senator Mohamed Ould Ghadda spent most of 2018 in pretrial detention on vague corruption charges.

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Slavery has declined but has not been eliminated entirely.

In addition to social pressures, a variety of state policies and laws that criminalize adultery and morality offenses render women vulnerable to gender-based violence, making it difficult and risky for them to report sexual assault to the police.

Mauritania’s laws impose the death penalty for a range of offenses, including, under certain conditions, blasphemy, adultery, and homosexuality. A de facto moratorium remains in effect on capital punishment and on corporal punishments that are inspired by Islamic Sharia law and found in the penal code.

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